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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Republican State Senator Caleb Rowden and the future top lawmaker of the chamber says sports betting is a priority of his next legislative session, especially after Kansas made it legal during their last legislative session.

“I hear about it literally almost as much as any issue with at least my circle of friends,” Rowden said in an interview with FOX4 Friday, “many of whom are Republicans, many of whom are Democrats, many of whom couldn’t care less about politics in general. So you don’t see very many issues that bring all of those sides together quite like this one.”

New data might support the sports betting interest in Missouri.

The company GeoComply confirms 16,000 people tried to make a bet in Missouri on Thursday, but were blocked because they weren’t in Kansas. Of those people, 60% of them were in Kansas City, Missouri.

Rowden said he was upset Kansas was able to legalize it in 2022 while his legislature was not.

“I generally hate the state of Kansas in every way, shape and form,” Rowden said. “So to see them do something better than us, I don’t love.”

Alex Gold, who hosts a new sports betting show on 610 Sports, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” sports betting will get passed in Missouri next year.

“For those that are looking at, ‘Well Kansas just has it now, that must mean Missouri’s got to pass it,’ I get that logic, but at the same time, there’s already been four other states that were bordering Missouri that have had it legalized prior to Kansas,” Gold told FOX4 Friday.

“People in St. Louis have been going over to Illinois. People in the Kansas City area on the Missouri side have been going up to Iowa if that was something that they wanted to do.

“So yes, it’s a big deal because we know you’re a 10-minute drive perhaps from Missouri to Kansas if you’re near the state line, but it’s not as if this is the first state to border Missouri to legalize it, and that, ‘Wow we gotta act.’ I do think there’s more pressure than ever, but it’s not an automatic that Missouri gets this done in 2023.”

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